Collaborative Support for Informal Information in Collective Memory Systems

TitleCollaborative Support for Informal Information in Collective Memory Systems
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsAckerman, M. S., and D. W. McDonald
JournalInformation Systems Frontiers
KeywordsAnswer Garden 2, Cafe ConstructionKit, Collaborative Refinery, Collaborative Refinery system, Collaborative support, Collective memory systems, Communication flows, Data warehouses, Groupware, Help systems, Informal information, Information systems, Organization, Organizational memory framework, Problem solving, Toolkit mechanisms, User interfaces, User-centered perspective, Workarounds

Informal information, such as the expertise of an organization or the workarounds practised by a community, is a critical part of organizational or collective memory systems. From a user-centered perspective, a user merely wishes to get his work done, and to do this, he must solve his immediate problems. We have examined how to incorporate this problem solving into a collective memory, as well as how to incorporate the learning that accrues to it or from it. We report on two systems, the Cafe ConstructionKit and the Collaborative Refinery, as well as an application, Answer Garden 2, built using these two systems. The Cafe ConstructionKit provides toolkit mechanisms for incorporating communication flows among people (as well as agents) into an organizational memory framework, and the Collaborative Refinery system provides mechanisms for distilling and refining the informal information obtained through these communication flows. The Answer Garden 2 application demonstrates the utility of these two underlying systems.

Alternate JournalInf. Syst. Front. (USA)